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See detailThe impact of mental and somatic stressors on physical activity and sedentary behaviour in adults with type 2 diabetes mellitus: a diary study
Poppe, Louise; De Paepe; van Ryckeghem, Dimitri UL et al

in PeerJ (2021), 9

Background Adopting an active lifestyle is key in the management of type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM). Nevertheless, the majority of individuals with T2DM fails to do so. Additionally, individuals with T2DM ... [more ▼]

Background Adopting an active lifestyle is key in the management of type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM). Nevertheless, the majority of individuals with T2DM fails to do so. Additionally, individuals with T2DM are likely to experience mental (e.g., stress) and somatic (e.g., pain) stressors. Research investigating the link between these stressors and activity levels within this group is largely lacking. Therefore, current research aimed to investigate how daily fluctuations in mental and somatic stressors predict daily levels of physical activity (PA) and sedentary behaviour among adults with T2DM. Methods Individuals with T2DM (N = 54) were instructed to complete a morning diary assessing mental and somatic stressors and to wear an accelerometer for 10 consecutive days. The associations between the mental and somatic stressors and participants’ levels of PA and sedentary behaviour were examined using (generalized) linear mixed effect models. Results Valid data were provided by 38 participants. We found no evidence that intra-individual increases in mental and somatic stressors detrimentally affected participants’ activity levels. Similarly, levels of sedentary behaviour nor levels of PA were predicted by inter-individual differences in the mental and somatic stressors. [less ▲]

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See detailWhat do alexithymia items measure? A discriminant content validity study of the Toronto-alexithymia-scale–20
Veirman, Elke; van Ryckeghem, Dimitri UL; Verleysen, Gregory et al

in PeerJ (2021), 29

Background Questions have been raised about whether items of alexithymia scales assess the construct alexithymia and its key features, and no other related constructs. This study assessed the ... [more ▼]

Background Questions have been raised about whether items of alexithymia scales assess the construct alexithymia and its key features, and no other related constructs. This study assessed the (discriminant) content validity of the most widely used alexithymia scale, i.e., the Toronto Alexithymia Scale (TAS-20). Methods Participants (n = 81) rated to what extent TAS-20 items and items of related constructs were relevant for assessing the constructs ‘alexithymia’, ‘difficulty identifying feelings’, ‘difficulty describing feelings’, ‘externally-oriented thinking’, ‘limited imaginal capacity’, ‘anxiety’, ‘depression’, and ‘health anxiety’. Results Results revealed that, overall, the TAS-20 did only partly measure ‘alexithymia’. Only the subscales ‘difficulty identifying feelings’ and ‘difficulty describing feelings’ represented ‘alexithymia’ and their intended construct, although some content overlap between these subscales was found. In addition, some items assessed (health) anxiety equally well or even better. Conclusions Revision of the TAS-20 is recommended to adequately assess all key features of alexithymia. Findings with the TAS-20 need to be interpreted with caution in people suffering from medical conditions. [less ▲]

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See detailOptimised biomolecular extraction for metagenomic analysis of microbial biofilms from high-mountain streams
Busi, Susheel Bhanu UL; Pramateftaki, Paraskevi; Brandani, Jade et al

in PeerJ (2020)

Glacier-fed streams (GFS) are harsh ecosystems dominated by microbial life organized in benthic biofilms, yet the biodiversity and ecosystem functions provided by these communities remain under ... [more ▼]

Glacier-fed streams (GFS) are harsh ecosystems dominated by microbial life organized in benthic biofilms, yet the biodiversity and ecosystem functions provided by these communities remain under-appreciated. To better understand the microbial processes and communities contributing to GFS ecosystems, it is necessary to leverage high throughput sequencing. Low biomass and high inorganic particle load in GFS sediment samples may affect nucleic acid extraction efficiency using extraction methods tailored to other extreme environments such as deep-sea sediments. Here, we benchmarked the utility and efficacy of four extraction protocols, including an up-scaled phenol-chloroform protocol. We found that established protocols for comparable sample types consistently failed to yield sufficient high-quality DNA, delineating the extreme character of GFS. The methods differed in the success of downstream applications such as library preparation and sequencing. An adapted phenol-chloroform-based extraction method resulted in higher yields and better recovered the expected taxonomic profile and abundance of reconstructed genomes when compared to commercially-available methods. Affordable and straight-forward, this method consistently recapitulated the abundance and genomes of a mock community, including eukaryotes. Moreover, by increasing the amount of input sediment, the protocol is readily adjustable to the microbial load of the processed samples without compromising protocol efficiency. Our study provides a first systematic and extensive analysis of the different options for extraction of nucleic acids from glacier-fed streams for high-throughput sequencing applications, which may be applied to other extreme environments. [less ▲]

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See detailLet’s talk about pain catastrophizing measures: an item content analysis
Crombez, Geert; Depaepe, Annick; Veirman, Elke et al

in PeerJ (2020)

Background. Concerns have been raised about whether self-report measures of pain catastrophizing reflect the construct as defined in the cognitive-behavioral literature. We investigated the content of ... [more ▼]

Background. Concerns have been raised about whether self-report measures of pain catastrophizing reflect the construct as defined in the cognitive-behavioral literature. We investigated the content of these self-report measures; that is, whether items assess the construct ‘pain catastrophizing’ and not other theoretical constructs (i.e., related constructs or pain outcomes) using the discriminant content validity method. Method. Items (n = 58) of six pain catastrophizing measures were complemented with items (n = 34) from questionnaires measuring pain-related worrying, vigilance, pain severity, distress, and disability. Via an online survey, 94 participants rated to what extent each item was relevant for assessing pain catastrophizing, defined as ‘‘to view or present pain or pain-related problems as considerably worse than they actually are’’ and other relevant constructs (pain-related worrying, vigilance, pain severity, distress, and disability). Results. Data were analyzed using Bayesian hierarchical models. The results revealed that the items from pain-related worrying, vigilance, pain severity, distress, and disability questionnaires were distinctively related to their respective constructs. This was not observed for the items from the pain catastrophizing questionnaires. The content of the pain catastrophizing measures was equally well, or even better, captured by pain-related worrying or pain-related distress. Conclusion. Based upon current findings, a recommendation may be to develop a novel pain catastrophizing questionnaire. However, we argue that pain catastrophizing cannot be assessed by self-report questionnaires. Pain catastrophizing requires contextual information, and expert judgment, which cannot be provided by self-report questionnaires. We argue for a person-centered approach, and propose to rename ‘pain catastrophizing’ measures in line with what is better measured: ‘pain-related worrying’ [less ▲]

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